Rail Fence (Triple Rail, Triple Rail Fence) is one of the simplest of quilt block designs--great for a beginning quilter--but the secondary pattern it creates gives a Rail Fence quilt a lot of movement and interest.
I've often seen baby quilts in this pattern, as it sews up quickly (Why is that we often seem to be scrambling to make baby quilts at the last minute? ?) but is very charming--in any color scheme.
You could use light medium and dark of the same color, or various scraps in 3 colors, or a "planned" quilt with just 3 fabrics. If you want to make it a little bigger choose one of the fabrics in the quilt (the one you like best), or choose a print fabric that has all the colors in it. (It might be easier to choose the focus fabric/print that you like first, and then choose three fabrics to coordinate with it.)
Cutting and piecing couldn't be much simpler; for a 12" finished block:
- Cut (4) 2-1/2" x 6-1/2" strips of each color.
- Sew 3 strips, each a different color, along te long edges to form a quarter of the block. It will be 6-1/2" square.
- Repeat to make 3 more quarter-blocks, making sure to arrange the fabrics in the same order as the first quarter.
- Sew the quarters together, in the configuration shown below:
- The pattern and the name of this block call Abe Lincoln, the railsplitter, to mind for me. I can picture a drawing in a biography of Lincoln, showing a split rail fence. (I think Abe was leaning against the fence, axe abandoned beside him, reading a book. That must be what appealed to my future-librarian's mind!) The secondary pattern created by putting many blocks together looks like fences (albeit incredibly crooked ones) wandering over the landscape.